Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Shine on, optimism, don't feel the cold or wind or rain

You don't always need a home run to validate your worth as a baseball player, but it's a nice way to get noticed. For a No. 3 hitter, it's a little weird that Mark Teahen hadn't homered since May 29 before last night's jack against Toronto, but save the complaints: in August he's 17-for-43 (.395) with one home run and five RBIs, with the best news being his strikeout total: four. Just four, for a guy who came into the month with 97.

Royals win 6-2, thanks in large to a bullpen that's given up just one run in the last 17 2/3 innings.

With this four-game series split, the Royals now have 52 wins, and used 23 fewer games to get there. Just another one of many signs that times are changing. More enumeration by Poz in yesterday's Kansas City Star:

And the last 10-plus years for the Royals have been every bit as bad as the long Chiefs’ nightmare. The Royals have had one winning record since the 1994 strike -- that was 2003, and the manager of that team quit a little more than a year later. The Royals have had two Rookie of the Year winners; they could not afford one (Carlos Beltran), and they paid too much for the other (Angel Berroa). The draft picks routinely flopped, trades busted, free agents collapsed, and the team would flip-flop each year from lousy pitching to bungling hitting and back again.

Then, Dayton Moore was hired as general manager. There’s the first similarity. Moore, like Peterson, came in with a more serious and professional approach. He hired a few good baseball people. He made some quiet trades.

This year’s team started off lousy, as Royals team generally do. But after a few weeks, you could see the change. That’s a second similarity with those Chiefs. The Royals have been playing better than .500 baseball since May 12. They beat Toronto 6-2 Monday night and are now 41-39 over the last 80 games. Skipping that fluky 2003 season, this is their best 80-game stretch in a decade.

Welcome back on the bandwagon.

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